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mesaSteeler
01-02-2011, 04:16 PM
baltimoresun.com
Ravens headed to playoffs after lackluster 13-7 win over Bengals
Reed's two picks propel team to fourth straight win in regular-season finale
http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/bal-ravens-bengals-0102,0,5015610,print.story
By Jamison Hensley

Baltimore Sun reporter

4:13 PM EST, January 2, 2011

Ed Reed's two interceptions and a last-minute defensive stand in the red zone helped the Ravens to a nerve-wracking 13-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the regular-season finale at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

The Ravens (12-4) forced five turnovers to end a three-game losing streak to the Bengals (4-12) in what amounted to a meaningless game otherwise. With Pittsburgh routing Cleveland, the Ravens become the No. 5 seed in the AFC and will play a first-round game on the road.

Because Kansas City was upset by Oakland at home, the Ravens would travel to the Chiefs if Indianapolis wins this afternoon. If Indianapolis and Jacksonville both lose, the Ravens would head to play at the Colts. If Indianapolis loses and Jacksonville wins, the Ravens would go south to play at the Jaguars.

Indianapolis and Jacksonville play at 4:15 p.m.

The Ravens wrapped up their fourth straight win with some concern. Cornerback Josh Wilson suffered a shoulder stinger in the first quarter, and left tackle Michael Oher limped off the field in the third quarter with a sprained knee. Both didn't return.

It was a sluggish effort by the Ravens offense, which scored 10 points off turnovers. The first half was a sloppy one as both teams combined for almost as many turnovers (five) as points (six).

One week after sealing a victory at Cleveland, safety Ed Reed jump-started the Ravens early by intercepting Carson Palmer on the third play of the game and setting up the offense at the Ravens' 40-yard line.

A trick play a flea flicker that led to a 37-yard screen pass to Todd Heap put the Ravens in the red zone. But the Ravens had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff.

The Bengals then started helping the Ravens and began showing why they have gone from division champions to a last-place team in one year. On Cincinnati's first four drives, the Bengals turned the ball over twice, failed to convert on third-and-one and missed a 29-yard field goal.

Rookie kicker Clint Stitser's first missed field goal of the season went wide right and put a frustrating end to a 16-play drive. It marked the first time the Ravens stopped a team from scoring in their red zone since December 2009.

Joe Flacco, who has struggled against Cincinnati the past two seasons, was intercepted late in the first half when he threw a pass too late to tight end Todd Heap. It would have been a touchdown if Flacco had seen Heap earlier because the tight end was wide open at the 5-yard line. But Flacco's high-arcing pass gave safety Reggie Nelson enough time to run from the middle of the field and pick off the throw.

The Bengals looked to capitalize on that mistake and marched into the red zone. But Reed came up big once again by catching a deflected pass off his shoelaces while in the end zone.

Cincinnati continued trip over itself in the third quarter. Wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who had Ravens cornerback Chris Carr holding onto his left leg after a quick pass, just coughed up the ball in Bengals' territory.

Ray Rice converted the Bengals' fourth turnover into a 7-yard touchdown to put the Ravens ahead, 13-0, in the third quarter.

Palmer then got hot to cut the Ravens' lead to 13-7 early in the fourth quarter, completing all five of his passes on a drive that he capped with an 11-yard touchdown to Simpson.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jamisonhensley

btaylor179
01-02-2011, 04:20 PM
good

Merchant
01-02-2011, 04:54 PM
Can't believe Carson missed that game-winning pass on 4th and 2. Classic bungle.

jizzballz
01-02-2011, 08:54 PM
does palmer deserve to live, i hope he doesnt come back to cinncinnati so we get more worthy opponents to face at quarterback, bengals will draft a quarterback in round 1

mesaSteeler
01-02-2011, 09:01 PM
The Ratbird aren't playing like they are a serious threat at least according to the this. - mesa

www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/bs-sp-ravens-preston-report-card0103-20110102,0,3525004.story
baltimoresun.com
Mike Preston's report card: Ravens 13, Bengals 7

By Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

7:47 PM EST, January 2, 2011
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Quarterback: The Bengals have a way of making Joe Flacco think and throw in slow motion. Flacco seemed late on a lot of his passes, and didn't play well under duress. When pressured, he doesn't secure the ball well, which could become a problem again. Grade: D+

Offensive line: Physically, this group took a whipping. The Ravens couldn't handle Cincinnati's front four in pass protection, and the interior of the offensive line got no push at the point of attack. In fact, there were times when the Bengals looked like they were blocking the Ravens. Grade: D

Receivers: Tight end Todd Heap was a welcome addition back to the passing game with three catches for 53 yards, and receiver Derrick Mason had three for 34. The Ravens were hurt in the passing game because the team's top receiver, Ray Rice, had to stay in and pass block. Grade: C+

Running backs: Ray Rice started off strong, but only had periods when he was effective. Backup Willis McGahee had just two touches for five yards and fullback Le'Ron McClain appears to have no role in the offense. Grade: C

Defensive line: The Ravens were physical and handled Cincinnati's running game, but the Ravens didn't get much pressure with their defensive line. From the defensive line, they didn't even get a quarterback hurry. Grade: C-

Linebackers: Inside linebacker Ray Lewis had his best game in recent weeks with 11 tackles, a lot of those in the first half. But in the second half, this group, with the exception of strongside linebacker Jarret Johnson, started to fade. Rush outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was handled well by Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth. Grade: C+

Secondary: The Bengals went after second-year cornerback Lardarius Webb, and had success. Cincinnati also had success on short passes, attacking the Ravens' soft play at the cornerback position. Overall, not a good game for this group, which has played well the past couple of weeks. Grade: C

Special teams: Billy Cundiff continued his quest to become the team's unofficial MVP by converting two field goals. Sam Koch was solid, but not spectacular. Koch had two punts inside the 20. Webb needs to stop dancing when pinned against the sidelines on punts, and the Ravens were close to giving up several long runs on punt returns. Grade: C+

ZoneBlitzer
01-03-2011, 01:03 AM
Can't believe Carson missed that game-winning pass on 4th and 2. Classic bungle.

Media, "He's still better than Ben."